Europe

Indigenous community in Norway battles ‘wind turbine threat’

Sami people say they cannot practice reindeer herding because onshore wind turbines are installed in region where they live

Selen Temizer   | 17.11.2021
Indigenous community in Norway battles ‘wind turbine threat’

BRUSSELS

A local community in Norway is fighting for the removal of wind turbines, which they claim are threatening their main occupation -- reindeer herding. 

The Sami people have been struggling to preserve their culture and identity as well as their main source of livelihood, reindeer husbandry.

They argue that they cannot practice reindeer husbandry because Europe's largest onshore wind turbines are installed in the region where they live.

Turbines continue to threaten reindeer husbandry

Sami shepherds had appealed to the country's supreme court because the giant and highly audible wind turbines were scaring away deer.

In its decision issued on Oct. 11, the court found the Sami to be right and concluded that the Storheia and Roan wind farms on the Fosen peninsula located in central Norway violated the rights of the shepherds and their operation permits were therefore invalid.

However, in its decision, the court left unclear the fate of as many as 151 turbines that provide electricity to about 100,000 homes in Norway, and the turbines have continued to operate and threaten reindeer husbandry for more than a month.

Silje Karine Muotka, a member of the Sami Parliament of Norway, underlined that the only solution is to remove the “threats.”

Farms owned by German, Swiss and Norwegian companies are part of the largest onshore wind turbine system in Europe.

Representing an ethnic group that settled in Scandinavian countries many years ago, the Sami speak languages ​​of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Ural-Altaic language family.

The Samis, also called "Lapon," are claimed by some sources to be Turks.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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